'Twas the weeks before Christmas,

And all through my home,

Until my kids get some presents

They won't leave me alone!

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. The time when we all gather round the fireplace to celebrate the miraculous birth of a child that happened over 2,000 years ago. No, I'm not talking about Andy Rooney! I'm talking about Christmas—and you know what that means:

Run for your lives! The fruitcakes are coming!

Now, if you're a loyal reader (This week's Tip of the Santa's Hat goes to Ann Marie Ganz of Portage, MI!) you know I've never been too nuts (or fruits) about fruitcake. But honestly, who is? The last time anyone actually took a bite of a fruitcake was 1952, and I should know—it's still sitting on my mother's kitchen table with a fork stuck in it. It was there so long she finally had to put it in her will…as the thing that probably killed her! Talk about a recipe for disaster. This one takes the cake!

But seriously, folks, if the mailman tries to bring one of those things to my door this year, I'll be spending Christmas in prison for assault with a deadly confection.

Turns out waking up to something that's about as crusty, old, and stale as Keith Richards is the least of my worries this holiday season. (Did someone say, "I Can't Get No Fruit-Filled-Confection?") With only a few shopping days left before the dreaded 25th, it's time to hit the stores! Best Buy, Target, Toys "R" Too-Expensive-for-You-to-Afford...they're like loony bins filled with crazy parents fighting over the one hot item everyone's trying to snatch up first: a parking space! You guys know what I'm talking about. The last time I saw this many grown adults fighting over a piece of concrete, it was dividing Berlin!

Parking lot? More like parking little if you ask me.

Even if I do get a space, I don't have a clue what to buy once I get inside. Bicycles and digital cameras and DVDs—oh my! It's all about video games this year, and my kids are starting to sound like little piglets: "Wii, Wii, Wii!"

I told them they'd be getting a Wii for Christmas…just as soon as I win the loterii (lottery)!

Whatever happened to waking up Christmas morning to a new sled and a pair of tube socks? The only "video game" I remember playing in my youth was trying to hit "record" on the VCR right at the beginning of It's a Wonderful Life. "Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings." And every time four bells ring it's one of my kids calling me with another battery-operated doohickey to add to the list! I'm telling you, they're getting so demanding, it's practically ex-toy-rtion!

Now, call me the Grinch, but there's a better chance of an embryo attaching itself to my wife's hostile uterine lining than there is of me heading down to the Costco to spend a week's pay on some souped-up Atari nonsense. The only Resident Evil that's coming into this house on Christmas is Aunt Judy's Waldorf salad!

And speaking of family, what would Christmas be without a visit from the relatives? I'll tell you what…happy! My whole family in the same place at once? Ho, Ho, Holy smokes, I gotta get out of here! Christmas morning's going to be a sugarplum nightmare! No, but seriously, why doesn't somebody just hit me with a yule log right in the eggnog-gin, because unless I make a break for the North Pole, the only reindeer I'll be seeing this holiday season is my Uncle Howard getting Blitzen. Silent Night? Holy Hangover!

Oh, I sleigh me!

I guess there's nothing left to do but hang my stockings, eat some Christmas cookies, and wait patiently for the night when my house will be visited by a fat, bearded stranger who lives up north and has been secretly watching me all year.

But enough about my mother-in-law! Merry Christmas!